Beethoven – The Ruins of Athens Overture


Athens (Photo credit: dms2006)

The Ruins of Athens (Die Ruinen von Athen), Opus 113, is a set of incidental music written in 1811 by Ludwig van Beethoven. The music was written to accompany the play of the same name by August von Kotzebue, for the dedication of a new theatre at Pest.

A second overture was written in 1822 for the same play. It was composed especially for the reopening of Vienna’s Theater in der Josefstadt in 1822. The second overture is known as the Consecration of the House Overture.

Perhaps the best-known music from The Ruins of Athens is the Turkish March, a theme that many who are not even avid classical music listeners are familiar with. The overture and the Turkish March are often performed separately, and the other pieces of this set are not often heard. Another of Beethoven’s composition, Six variations on an original theme, Op. 76, uses the Turkish March as its theme.

It was reworked in 1924 by Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal.


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